They had to wait a year for the chance, but the Campbell River Senior girls Tyees got their revenge.
One year after watching Mark Isfeld Secondary walk off with the championship of their Intersport Invitational tournament, Carihi brought the trophy home with a 2-0 victory over their Courtenay rivals in the title game last Thursday.
It is the team’s eighth championship in the tourney’s 11-year history.
“It was a real good tournament,” co-captain Morgan McDonald said. “We hoped to win, of course, but we expected Isfeld to be the team we’d have to beat.”
Both goals were credited to Lisa Eberlein, and both came in the final four minutes of play after the teams played scoreless ball for more than 56 minutes.
Neither goal was a highlight reel of offensive execution, but both resulted from the Tyees applying relentless pressure in the Isfeld zone.
The first came after Eberlein pushed hard down the left wing, forcing a defender to hurry a pass back to keeper Danielle Robertson. But the ball took a bad hop and the onrushing Robertson slipped trying to change direction as Eberlein raced past to tap it home from six yards.
“For me, the biggest thing is to never give up on the ball,” said Eberlein.
Then, in the final minute, Eberlein sent a hard cross into the box and it caromed off an Isfeld defender and into the net for the final score.
“This is why we work on that cross,” Carihi head coach John Jepsen told the team in its postgame huddle. “That goal was earned; it wasn’t a fluke. It was unfortunate for them, yes, but it wasn’t luck.”
“We’ve been working on crosses a lot,” Eberlein confirmed. “We’re trying to get nice, low crosses.”
Timberline Secondary placed fifth in the eight-team, one-day tourney. Carihi entered both a ‘B’ team and its Junior team to fill out the eight-team bracket, but the tournament also included senior teams from Isfeld and G.P. Vanier of Courtenay, from Port Hardy Secondary and from North Island Secondary in Port McNeill.
NISS edged Timberline 2-1 in the third-fifth place contest. Vanier blanked Port Hardy 4-0 in the fourth-sixth place final, and Carihi’s Junior squad bested the Carihi B team in the 7th-8th place final. Carihi’s juniors had to go to a tie-breaking shootout twice, edging the ‘B’ team 1-0 in extra kicks after falling 2-1 to Port Hardy in their first shootout.
The shutout in the championship game was the third straight for Carihi senior goalkeeper Kyra Boulding. The Tyees outscored opponents 8-0 in the tournament, posting wins of 3-0 over GP Vanier in the opening round and 3-0 over Timberline in the semifinals. Emma Skalik had two goals and McDonald one in the opener, and they reversed that showing in the semifinal, with McDonald scoring twice and Skalik notching one goal.
“We all play as a team,” said co-captain Kristine Osachuk. “We don’t have any provincial all-stars, so everybody has to work together and do their part.”
The Tyees improved to 8-0-1 with their three-game sweep. Previously, the team had gone 5-0-1 in a series of preseason exhibition games. League play begins following spring break, with games against Vanier and Timberline at Isfeld April 14.
On April 24-25, Carihi will host the annual Investors Group Challenge Tournament, a 16-team extravaganza that is the largest ongoing high school soccer tourney in the province.
11th annual Intersport Invitational
Carihi ‘A’ 3, GP Vanier 0
Timberline 3, Carihi ‘B’ 0
Mark Isfeld 5, Port Hardy 0
NISS 5, Carihi Jr. 0
GP Vanier 3, Carihi ‘B’ 0
Port Hardy 2, Carihi Jr. 1, shootout
Carihi ‘A’ 3, Timberline 0
Mark Isfeld 4, NISS 0
7th-8th — Carihi Jr. 1, Carihi ‘B’ 0, shootout
4th-6th — GP Vanier 4, Port Hardy 0
3rd-5th — NISS 2, Timberline 1
1st-2nd — Carihi ‘A’ 2, Mark Isfeld 0